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Team Mate Battles – Canadian GP

In Formula One, the very first person you have to beat is your teammate. So who did just that in Montreal? Let’s go through the teams and hand out the TMB points!

Click here to read the rules to which the drivers are being judged.

Points system:

1 point is awarded to the driver who sets the faster lap.

3 points are awarded to the driver who performs best in qualifying.

5 points are awarded to the driver who performs best on race day.

Sauber:

With drivers having to remember so many little details of settings and switches, its surprising that brain fade doesn’t happen more often. On this occasion, it was poor old Felipe Nasr who made a crucial error of warming his tyres on the back straight while his DRS was open. As any of you who play the Codemasters F1 games will know, the physics of this rarely are kind to the player. Felipe lost the rear of his car and hit the wall. While he was OK, the car wasn’t; there was a lot of work done by his team to get the C34 back ready for qualifying.

From there, Sauber’s weekend didn’t really go anywhere. Both were eliminated in Q2 with Ericsson, perhaps unsurprisingly considering Nasr’s FP3 session, qualifying two places above the Brazilian. The Swede finished the race in 14th, and said afterwards that the car felt “good to drive”. Nasr finished 16th, but complained about his handling, a loss of engine power in the early stages, and that his brakes overheated. This meant he had to back off to make sure he made the end of the race. A thoroughly nondescript event for Hinwil.

Fastest Lap: Marcus Ericsson (4 – 3 to Felipe Nasr) (after Round 7)
Qualifying: Marcus Ericsson (15 – 6 to Felipe Nasr) (after Round 7)
Race: Marcus Ericsson (25 – 10 to Felipe Nasr) (after Round 7)

  • Sauber: 44 – 19 to Felipe Nasr (Total After Round 7)

Manor Marussia:

A double retirement in Canada, but signs of life from Roberto Merhi as he brought his A-Game to Montreal. Outqualifying Will by just 0.024 seconds showed that Roberto really is starting to get to grips with the car after admitting to struggling with his weight compared to Will. Stevens said on Saturday that he wasn’t feeling quite as comfortable with the car as usual, but that didn’t stop him from racing Roberto hard during the race.

The pair enjoyed a tete-a-tete throughout, with Will managing to get ahead on Lap 2. Merhi managed to get back ahead after the first stops despite Will stopping first, and remained three seconds clear of him until Grosjean cut up Stevens into the final chicane. While Roberto’s race ended shortly afterwards with a driveshaft failure, he had done enough to earn the race points.

Stevens’ vocal criticism of Romain Grosjean over the radio and afterwards shows that the English driver is far from shy and retiring, despite enduring the relative anonymity of the back of the grid.

Fastest lap: Will Stevens (5 – 2 to Will Stevens) (after Round 7)
Qualifying: Roberto Merhi (15 – 6 to Will Stevens) (after Round 7)
Race: Roberto Merhi (20 – 15 to Will Stevens) (after Round 7)

  • Manor Marussia: 40 – 23 to Will Stevens (Total After Round 7)*
  • *Rounds 1 & 2 were adjudged to be split points, due to non-participation of one or both.

Lotus:

Romain Grosjean’s overly exuberant lapping of Will Stevens undid an otherwise excellent race from the French driver, but also showed that he was feeling the pressure that Pastor Maldonado was beginning to pile on him.

Lotus were the surprise package of the Canadian weekend, with both men putting in great practice performances and taking 5th and 6th on the grid after qualifying. Less than 0.2 seconds separated them, and with Williams’ combined strength reduced because of Massa’s power unit problems, a very strong result was a possibility.

Running 5th and 6th past the halfway point, the duo were separated by 2.3 seconds. A former gap of around 7 seconds had been whittled away by Pastor, and with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel closing quickly, Romain was keen not to lose any time when he came up behind the Manor of Stevens on Lap 50. As we all saw, he made a 2012-esque error of judgement that ended up costing him and the team valuable points. Just like in 2012 though, he admitted to his mistakes afterwards and apologised to the relevant parties – something that his team-mate has yet to figure out how to do. With Romain a solid and dependable performer in recent years, a small blip like this won’t change his reputation. However, it does give the race points to Pastor – he came home in the 7th place that Romain possibly would have held onto.

Fastest Lap: Romain Grosjean (5.5 – 1.5 to Romain Grosjean) (after Round 7)
Qualifying: Romain Grosjean (16.5 – 4.5 to Romain Grosjean) (after Round 7)
Race: Pastor Maldonado (27.5 – 7.5 to Romain Grosjean) (after Round 7)

  • Lotus: 49.5 – 13.5 to Romain Grosjean (Total After Round 7)

Toro Rosso:

Toro Rosso were always going to struggle in Canada. As one of the two Renault powered teams, they were doomed to a weekend of watching other cars tear away from them down the straights, as well as deal with all the penalties that were meted out to Max Verstappen.

A ‘minor’ five place grid penalty became a 15 place penalty after Verstappen took an engine change, but he still didn’t outqualify Sainz. The Spaniard was 0.2 seconds clear in Q2, before Verstappen was forced to start the race from somewhere near downtown Montreal after taking his grid drop. Starting on the harder tyre meant a steady start to the race, climbing up to 15th by Lap 17. However, any progress he made was undone by the ten second penalty that he also had to take at his pit-stop – he did this on Lap 39. Falling back down to 16th, there were no intervening safety cars; he came home a dispirited 15th.

Sainz fared little better. Falling to 14th at the start, this became 15th when Vettel stormed past on Lap 4. He came home in 12th, hindered by a lack of power and straight line speed. Both Toro Rossos were forced to do a lot of fuel saving while unable to pass cars, something that also frustrated the Red Bulls.

Fastest Lap: Max Verstappen (4 – 3 to Max Verstappen) (after Round 7)
Qualifying: Carlos Sainz (15 – 6 to Carlos Sainz) (after Round 7)
Race: Carlos Sainz (22.5 – 12.5 to Carlos Sainz) (after Round 7)

  • Toro Rosso: 40.5 – 22.5 to Carlos Sainz (Total After Round 7)

Force India:

Considering Force India are essentially treading water until the rollout of their ‘B-Spec’ VJM08, the performances that they are putting in right now are pretty solid. While they seem to be enjoying being able to use the softest Pirelli compounds available, the Merc engine’s superiority allowed the team to jump ahead of the likes of Toro Rosso & compete with Red Bull.

Both men managed to get into Q3, but their weekends went in two different directions during that session. While Nico was able to take his best position of the year by claiming 7th, Sergio wasn’t happy with the balance during Q3 and could only manage 10th. This lack of balance then plagued him throughout the race, and he came home outside the points in 11th. Nico had a much more competitive outing, vying with the Lotus drivers before their superior pace took them out of reach. Duelling with Sebastian Vettel was a bridge too far for Hulkenberg, who made a rare error in his attempts to keep the Ferrari behind. Spinning at the chicane cost Nico 11 seconds but he still came home 30 seconds clear of Sergio, and having only lost the one position to the Ferrari.

Fastest Lap: Nico Hulkenberg (4 – 3 to Sergio Perez) (after Round 7)
Qualifying: Nico Hulkenberg (15 – 6 to Nico Hulkenberg) (after Round 7)
Race: Nico Hulkenberg (25 – 10 to Sergio Perez) (after Round 7)

  • Force India: 35 – 28 to Sergio Perez (Total After Round 7)
Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams
Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams

McLaren:

A nightmare weekend for McLaren saw both drivers having to replace various parts of their engine. Unfortunately for them, the new parts weren’t really any better than the old ones. Worse for Jenson, he had to take a penalty due to the failure of the old parts and sit out most of FP3 after stopping on track.

While not quite as dire as his Bahrain weekend, Jenson’s Canadian endeavour was a miserable one. Permitted to start the race from the back of the grid, Jenson was running 17th when he was forced to withdraw due to an exhaust problem. Fernando fared a little better, starting the race from 13th after penalties for others. However, with straight line speed also a problem for Honda, Fernando was shuffled back to 16th by Lap 20. He would retire from 15th with a similar, but completely unrelated, exhaust problem to his team-mate. A gap of 11 seconds between Fernando & Jenson on Lap 1 became 17 seconds by Lap 43 and Fernando’s retirement, suggesting similar race pace.

Fernando’s radio message of ‘I don’t want, I don’t want’ when asked to fuel save was glorious. As one of the most passionate drivers on the grid, the rictus grin of diplomacy briefly slipped in the heat of battle. Jenson has endured nightmare seasons before, and is handling the frustration well. This isn’t as likely for Fernando, particularly when he can only barely see off the qualifying challenge of a Ferrari that doesn’t have a working MGU-H. Or when the same Ferrari easily passes him during the race. Austria could see more of the same, thanks to those interminably long but picturesque Styrian straights.

Fastest Lap: Jenson Button (5 – 2 to Jenson Button) (after Round 7)
Qualifying: Split points (15 – 6 to Jenson Button) (after Round 7)
Race: Split points (20 – 15 to Fernando Alonso) (after Round 7)

  • McLaren: 35 – 28 to Jenson Button (Total After Round 7)

Ferrari:

40 seconds separated the Ferrari men in the early stages of the Canadian Grand Prix. Just 4 seconds separated them by race end, with Vettel almost directly behind Kimi Raikkonen. That alone would be enough to earn Sebastian Vettel the race points, even if Kimi hadn’t been caught out by his car’s throttle mapping after his pitstop.

That’s not to say that Vettel was hard done by in Montreal. Ignoring yellow flags in a practice session almost cost Jacques Villeneuve a World Championship back in 1997, and blatantly ignoring red flags to pointlessly overtake Roberto Merhi and return to the pits may yet come back to haunt Vettel later in the season. While Ferrari, in the hands of Raikkonen, looked unable to challenge Mercedes over the race distance, Vettel was the only man who looked remotely capable of doing so. While he understandably lost a lot of time negotiating his way to 4th position, Sebastian reduced the gap to Hamilton from 52 seconds to 49 seconds between Laps 43 & 70. Based on the relative fuel usage figures, Merc didn’t appear to have a lot in hand pace-wise. What could Vettel have done had he started from third place?

Raikkonen gets the qualifying points, although not for qualifying third. That was expected of him once Vettel fell by the wayside due to his MGU-H problems, but since Vettel compromised his own qualifying due to the flag transgression, Kimi gets the nod.

Raikkonen only had one job to do once the lights went out, and that was to secure third place or better. By spinning out of third place, he failed that and has immediately jeopardised the continuation of his Ferrari contract by annoying Maurizio Arrivabene. Vettel’s superb Sunday drive really hammered home just how comparatively poor Raikkonen was.

Fastest Lap: Kimi Raikkonen (4 – 3 to Kimi Raikkonen) (after Round 7)
Qualifying: Kimi Raikkonen (18 – 3 to Sebastian Vettel) (after Round 7)
Race: Sebastian Vettel (27.5 – 7.5 to Sebastian Vettel) (after Round 7)

  • Ferrari: 48.5 – 14.5 to Sebastian Vettel (Total After Round 7)

Williams:

Could Massa have beaten Bottas to the podium with a normal qualifying session? The Finn’s ultimate qualifying pace was slightly compromised due to having to overcome a hydraulic leak during Q2, with Rob Smedley explaining that the team had to manage their tyres during Q3 as a result. Massa was already out of the session due to an engine seal problem in Q1, leaving the Brazilian unable to set a competitive time.

Both drivers put in great races on the Sunday, with Bottas being the Finn that didn’t make a mistake and taking the final podium spot behind the two Mercedes men. Massa, just like Bottas, put in a one stop race to take 6th spot and finished just 7 seconds behind Sebastian Vettel.

I debated split points for the pair, and decided to do so for both qualifying and the race as there just isn’t quite enough to differentiate between them.

Fastest Lap: Felipe Massa (4.5 – 2.5 to Felipe Massa) (after Round 7)
Qualifying: Split points (12 – 9 to Felipe Massa) (after Round 7)
Race: Split points (25 – 10 to Valtteri Bottas) (after Round 7)

  • Williams: 36.5 – 26.5 to Valtteri Bottas (Total After Round 7)

Red Bull:

Two races on the trot that Daniil Kvyat has gotten the better of Daniel Ricciardo – precisely what he needed to do to steady the ship. Outqualifying the Australian by 0.1 seconds saw Kvyat take 8th place to Ricciardo’s 9th, positions they initially held off the line at race start.

Not long into the race, Ricciardo was easily passed by Perez & Massa as both men used their heftier Mercedes lumps powering their cars to clear the Red Bull. Now out of the points, Daniel struggled throughout the race and admitted afterwards: “I was lacking pace and we are not sure why. There was nothing that felt especially wrong but we just couldn’t get any pace out of the car. I had a few set-up changes compared to Dany but that doesn’t explain the difference in pace. It is something we will look at to understand what the cause was.” He brought his RB11 home in 13th, beaten home by Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz towards race end.

Kvyat got on a little better, finishing the race 33 seconds clear of the 2014 Canadian winner. While powerless against Vettel & Massa recovering back to strong positions, he took 9th place after successfully holding off the recovering Romain Grosjean after the Frenchman’s collision with Will Stevens.

Fastest Lap: Daniil Kvyat (3.5 – 3.5 to each) (after Round 7)
Qualifying: Daniil Kvyat (15 – 6 to Daniel Ricciardo) (after Round 7)
Race: Daniil Kvyat (17.5 – 17.5 to Daniel Ricciardo) (after Round 7)

  • Red Bull: 36 – 27 to Daniel Ricciardo (Total After Round 7)

Mercedes:

With Lewis Hamilton’s record in Canada a pretty formidable one, Nico Rosberg must have headed to Montreal with some trepidation; trepidation that transformed slowly into cautious optimism after the events of Friday & Saturday morning. With Hamilton on the back foot due to a completely unnecessary FP2 crash, qualifying was the prime time to strike and continue to up the pressure on Lewis after two straight defeats in Spain & Monaco.

It wasn’t to be. Lewis was in a league of his own in qualifying, despite his setbacks. While Q1 & Q2 were exceptionally close between the pair (0.002 & 0.012 seconds split them), Lewis flew in Q3 to beat Nico by more than 0.3 seconds as Rosberg failed to improve from his Q2 time.

In the race, only misfortune could have stopped Lewis. While he never pulled away significantly from Nico, and their respective fuel levels at the end suggested neither could have gone much quicker, there was never a sense that Nico was a viable threat. The German driver was cosseted through the second half of the race with promises of being allowed off the leash to attack in the closing stages; this threat failed to materialise, Hamilton always being kept abreast of his team-mate’s game plan.

Fastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton (4 – 3 to Lewis Hamilton) (after Round 7)
Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton (18 – 3 to Lewis Hamilton) (after Round 7)
Race: Lewis Hamilton (30 – 5 to Lewis Hamilton) (after Round 7)

  • Mercedes: 52 – 11 to Lewis Hamilton (Total After Round 7)

Totals:

  • Lewis Hamilton – 52 points
  • Romain Grosjean – 49.5 points
  • Sebastian Vettel – 48.5 points
  • Felipe Nasr – 44 points
  • Carlos Sainz – 40.5 points
  • Will Stevens – 40 points
  • Valtteri Bottas –  36.5 points
  • Daniel Ricciardo – 36 points
  • Sergio Perez – 35 points
  • Jenson Button – 35 points
  • Fernando Alonso – 28 points
  • Nico Hulkenberg – 28 points
  • Daniil Kvyat – 27 points
  • Felipe Massa – 26.5 points
  • Roberto Merhi – 23 points
  • Max Verstappen – 22.5 points
  • Marcus Ericsson – 19 points
  • Kimi Raikkonen – 14.5 points
  • Pastor Maldonado – 13.5 points
  • Nico Rosberg – 11 points
  • Kevin Magnussen – 3 points*

*Due to split points in Melbourne

About Thomas Maher

Thomas Maher is one of the founders of FormulaSpy.com. He is an FIA-accredited F1 journalist, as well as working in the Irish radio industry. Hobbies include writing, music, and polishing his beloved Mitsubishi FTO. Check him out on your social network below.

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